Monday, November 15, 2010

The Dervish House - Ian McDonald

A novel with a short timeframe, following the events of a week in Istanbul. The story follows several characters.

A dodgy finance trader and his dodgy art dealer wife.
A young boy with a heart condition and a nanotech shapeshifting pet toy.
A Greek retired professor of economics.
A youth with a trouble violent past.
A fresh out of business college young woman.

A suicide bomber detonates on a tram in odd circumstances - the only person killed is herself. As the story unfolds the various strands of the book link together. The troubled youth was at the scene, affected by the nanotechnology delivery that the bomb was for. The young boy notices a robot watching the scene and begins to track down some information. The professor is a friend of his, taken a grandfatherly interest in the young lad and realises he has discovered something disturbing.

The dodgy trader and his mates are planning a short term gas price coup when they find out the company they work for is ridiculously insolvent - and are also the company that our young marketer has approached as a financier for the nanotech dna information writing project the two young men who have hired her have going.

And a gas pipeline is the final target for the terrorists who snatch the troubled youth to test the effects of their ideological conversion nanotech.

The problem with having so many disparate sections is that it feels somewhat fractured at times, compared to say, Brasyl, which does get a bit annoying.

A good book though.

4 out of 5

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